After branching east off the Bruce Highway a couple of kilometres past Tully, a loop road runs 18km through cane fields and patches of rainforest to Mission Beach, the collective name for four peaceful hamlets strung out along a 14km stretch of sand. The coastal forest is home to the largest surviving cassowary population in Australia.

The area owes its name to the former Hull River Mission, destroyed by a savage cyclone in 1918. In 2006, Cyclone Larry stripped the rainforest canopy and flattened farms between here and Cairns, wiping out the entire year’s banana crop, and much the same happened again in early 2011 when Cyclone Yasi hit the region with full force.

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